Betty is always trying her best. In the world of Power Rangers Beast Morphers she, alongside her brother Ben, don’t have fancy Ranger suits or gadgets. While Ben might turn and run from a monster or big problem, Betty is willing to face it head on.
The two are often soleley labeled as the comedic side characters by fans but Kristina Ho, who plays Betty, tries to keep her characters as grounded as possible. That way, even in the many moments of comedy, she doesn’t just become one note. In our interview for The Fourth Wall podcast, the actress shed a lot of light on the acting choices behind Betty, working with the series’ creative staff, and what fans can look forward to when the series comes back later this year.
Just as a note, this interview was recorded before filming wrapped on the series. Listen to the full audio below or subscribe and listen on your podcast app of choice, or simply read on!
What sort of prep work goes into creating the character of Betty?
Oh, my God. Our whole cast, we’re so involved in our characters and creating these characters for the show. We were all so stressed out for the first month of filming because we all wanted to do such a good job, and we didn’t want to let the fans down because we know how big this is for them. I feel like I am Betty in a lot of ways, and I remember just trying to figure her out. I went to (executive producer) Chip Lynn at one point and was like, “Hey, Chip, is this her? Did I get it right?” He was like, “Yeah, that’s her. That’s her.” It was a lot of trial and error for our characters, and try seeing what works and what doesn’t work.
I remember Simon Bennett, who was one of the directors, he shot the first few episodes with us, and then he left because he had to shoot Shortland Street. Then he came back a couple of months later and he was like, “Oh, my God, you guys, just the difference. You guys are just so … you know who your characters are now.” It was just really cool to have him come back a few months later and be like, “Oh, my God, you guys have it.” It was definitely a little stressful in the beginning, because we just care so much.
How do you find those characters in such a stressful time. What helped you to key in to who your character was?
I know that she is the complete opposite of Ben. Ben is more timid, more shy. He’s the one that wants to hide. Betty wants to be on the frontline during the battle. She’s a more impulsive one, she’s the one that drags Ben into all of it. I knew that I had to tap into that part of me. Be impulsive, bad ass, kind of like, “You know what? I’ve fallen down seven times, I’m going to get up eight.” I definitely worked a lot with my acting coach back home. I would Skype her from my apartment on my days off. Be like, “Hey, help me with this character.” It was just a lot of work, but I think that it’s easiest when you find your character in you. We have so many parts to ourselves, and it definitely helped me a lot, making that become real. I didn’t want her to be just a comedy character. I wanted her to have an actual real life and soul breathing inside of her.
For several pervious seasons Power Rangers has a had lot of comedic character and fans have had many varied reactions to them. Go more in depth about finding the humanity in Betty. That even though the material you may be given is very comedic, how do you make it more than just, “Ooh, I’m the wacky person.”
I just love that Betty and Ben are siblings and they go through all these things together. A lot of the time it’s kind of life threatening, and they’re in danger. I think in those moments, when we are kind of in danger, we have each other and we care for each other. I think that’s what makes us human, is that care, and having someone to fight for. If Betty were in a dangerous situation, the first thought that goes through her mind is, “Oh, my God. I have to look out for my little brother.” I think that’s what gives her the heart and the humanity in her character.
Talk a little bit about working with Cosme (Ben), finding that sibling relationship when you guys were first cast. How did you go about creating that bond? Is it just doing it on set, or what else is there?
This might sound kind of weird, but when I first met him at the audition, I already felt like he was my little brother. I remember him coming up to me and being like, “Hey, so we’re going to read together. If you have any notes you want to give me, feel free to give them to me.” But I didn’t have any notes to give him because it just flowed so well. We just have that brother/sister chemistry. A lot of people onset will tell us that we are brother and sister in real life, because I’ll give him crap, he’ll give me crap. Kind of like a brother and sister would, and we’ll laugh at each other, we’ll annoy each other. We hang out. On days we’re not working, I’ll go to his place and we’ll watch movies together and order Uber Eats together. We definitely have a natural brother/sister relationship outside of Betty/Ben too, so I think that’s how it works so well.
Betty can be very intense and very funny but there’s obviously a line between playing the comedy and then overacting and just being a joke. How do you toe that line, especially in a show that has a heightened reality like Power Rangers?
What helps me a lot is knowing that even though it is funny, there’s a lot of times where Ben and Betty could get seriously hurt. A lot of time we’ll be screaming, but that fear is real. We’re literally screaming for our lives and I think Betty’s passion for Grid Battleforce is real also. I think that’s what keeps her grounded, is that she does want to help the Rangers and she does want to do her best. She might not succeed a lot of the time, but she’ll try and try again. I think that’s really relatable to most people because most people are not perfect, and we’re going to mess up, and we’re going to fail, and we’re going to fall. But I think getting up and trying again is what people like, “You know what? I can related to that, and I’m not going to give up.” I think that’s what keeps her grounded in reality and not just a wacky character.
Is there any inspiration that you take in your portrayal of the character? Are there any past actors or actresses that you look to as an example?
My favorite TV show of all-time is Friends. I’ve watched all 10 seasons, I guess, four times now. I love it so much. I love Friends because all of each character is super endearing. Whether it’s Phoebe, or Joey, Monica, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, they all are trying their best all the time. They might not be perfect, and they’ll mess up, and they’ll have to try to cover up their messes, but they’re just so endearing. And they come from a good place, which I like. They’re always trying to be there for their friend, or to try to do good at their job, but it might not work out for them, because life doesn’t always work out how you want it to. But they’ll keep trying. That’s how I got all of my comedy, all of the timing, all of that heart, is from Friends.
Have you had much dialogue with the writers on the show, the staff writers?
Oh, yes. They’re there for every table read. I see them on set a lot, and I talk to them. They’re really happy, nice people, and I think that they’ve watched our personalities, and watched who we are, and actually infuse that into the character a lot of time. Sometimes we’ll be reading and I’ll be like, “Oh, my God. This is something that I’ve actually said, like a week ago, or something.” Or (we’ll) be like, “Oh, my God. I actually posted about this two weeks ago, and now it’s in the script. So I think they’re doing a really good job of seeing who we are as people and infusing that in our characters.
What has the reaction been like from the fans for this first batch of the episodes?
I was very pleasantly surprised, because I know that in the past the comedy duo, they haven’t been a fan favorite. I know the fans love Power Rangers and I totally get that, so I was a little scared, to be honest before the show came out. I remember telling my friends, being like, “I’m scared. I hope that they like Ben and Betty, because we work really hard!” But the fans have just been so supportive and super nice, and they all had super sweet things to say about Ben and Betty. I think if we’re able to put a smile on someone’s face, then we’ve done our job. I know the show can get really dark sometimes, so if we’re able to lighten it up a little bit by making the kids smile, or even if you’re not a kid and you’re smiling because something crazy happened to us, we did our job. It’s been really, really nice and supportive.
This is the first Power Rangers season that’s done under the Hasbro regime. Were you told about this when you started filming?
Yes. We were told that we were the first of the Hasbro era, and it’s definitely a crazy feeling. We’ve had (former Hasbro Global Franchise Director) Jason Bischoff come over to New Zealand and do some really fun things with us, promo wise. It’s been a ride, for sure, and I think the fans are really loving this Hasbro era.
You and Cosme did a fun little promo for the preview clip of episode two. What was that like?
That was one of the things that we did with Jason when he came over. I just loved being able to do those type of things. I don’t know that the Rangers in the past did that, but it shows how excited we are about the show, which I hope gets the fans excited about the show. The promo that Cosme and I did, I remember them sending us a script and me reading it. I was like, “Wow, this is super fun. We get to do this, and this is going to be shown on Nickelodeon.” But, yeah, I loved doing those kinds of (things) because it just gets the fans way more excited about the show.
Speaking of the fans, what can they look forward to as Beast Morphers continues, especially for Betty?
I can’t wait for the fans to see her character arc, which is weird to say because we’re the comedy duo, but we actually have character arcs. Thank you to the writers. That’s a big thank you to the writers, for giving Ben and Betty real lives. It definitely gets a lot crazier by the end of season one, and we’re finishing up. We’re about to finish season two in a month, and season two gets even crazier than season one. We had our last table read for the last episode last week, and we are just all in tears. Every single page that we were reading we were like, “Oh, my God. That just happened!” If I’m this excited about it, I just hope that they are too. I just feel like they’re going to be mind blown, for sure.
Tell us a little bit about your life outside of acting. What do you enjoy to do, what are things that you like?
I am a huge foodie. That is my favorite thing to do with my friends, is literally eating. Before I go to sleep every night, I’m always looking at new restaurants I can try. I love all kinds of food, there’s not one thing that I don’t like, and I love cooking. I love getting together with the whole cast and cooking meals for each other. I think we all just love eating together so much. Aside from that, I love traveling. To be able to shoot in this country, seeing how beautiful this country is, we’ve all traveled together at this point. I want to keep traveling after the show ends. I love traveling so much, and I think it’s so important to travel to different countries and see different cultures, and see how people live their lives, because it gets you out of your own skin. And be like, “Oh, my God. There’s so much to the world, and there’s so many different types of people, and yet we’re all the same.” That’s something that I’m definitely passionate about.
If you enjoyed this interview with Kristina, make sure to listen to our full Den of Geek podcast interview with her. We go into the rigorous casting process, thoughts on the entire Beast Morphers cast, and even what it’s like to pop out of a giant cake.